Polls have come to dominate the media's horse race coverage of political campaigns. Pundits and reporters constantly use them to tell us who's hot and who's not -- but skip over the fact that plummeting response rates and variables like undecided voters and margins of error often render these polls useless as anything other than lightweight diversions on par with horoscopes and political betting lines. Below you'll find a slew of polling, astrological, and betting information that will hopefully help the polling junkies in the media keep polls in the proper perspective.
We've also updated HuffPollstrology to bring you regular takes from astrologers on the state of the presidential race. And we've included a section that digs deeper into how polls are conducted. And to make sure we're really investigating, we're going to add various blogs and articles that cast a skeptical eye on polling. Read on for lots of HuffPollstrology:
ASTROLOGER PHILIP SEDGWICK LOOKS AT THE CANDIDATES - **NEW POST 10/30**:
Three patterns deemed by astrologers as inspirational form throughout the next few days. One promotes lofty idealism, innovation and inspired solutions. Another demands strategic planning, methods that make sense and solutions that fix problems, not symptoms. The final pattern declares that compassion, sensitivity and concern for all people need to be part of change. The candidate that nails all three in the weekend preceding the election captures any remaining undecided voters. Funny, a few months ago the polls held McCain with overall leads and distinct advantages in many states. Now, as voters sync up with the planetary pulses of now, the prophecies of post polls fail, while the read of the planets for November remains the same. On Monday, look for the final assessment of the planetary promise for the election.
Saturn now closes in on McCain's Venus, who represents women, money and social cause when considered politically. Women's choice issues, equal pay, federally sanctioned benefit plans and a solid economic platform must be presented. Actually if not evident by now, a disappointed Saturn assures popularity wanes further. In addition to these matters, given a female running mate and the track she takes, Palin remains a huge concern/liability/asset. Really at this point consensus catches up with what has been seeded. While some are quick to point to the polls that indicate McCain's rise in appeal, Saturn shrugs. It's too little, too late. Saturn in Virgo, McCain's birth sign, does not favor negative criticism. Saturn insists that person state one's own case irrespective of another's position. Since McCain's camp has not followed this protocol, it stands as a task impossible to offset the decline of the last weeks. Watch Sunday and Monday. The intense Sun in strongly emotional Scorpio forms a crisp, tense angle to McCain's planet of assertion/anger/aggression, Mars. There's still a remaining day or two to display that rumored anger instinct.
Riding the momentum of an uninterrupted half hour infomercial and given Saturn's approach to his Mars as the Sun presses his Sun, Obama says with confidence, "The time is now and I am the man for the job." While undergoing very similar patterns to McCain, Obama's spin takes the higher road. While energized to the point of sharpness in speech, Obama's message seems more lucid, easier to grasp and more likely to make a positive difference. His optimism and can-do confidence shadows the negative spewing of his opponent. Even if McCain closes in some polls, there's no need for panic. Keep doing what you're doing and give other undoing ample space to work itself out.
POLLING METHODOLOGY: New Polls Added 10/31
HuffPost is delving into the gray area of how polls are conducted. Below is an analysis of how pollsters come up with the numbers through response rates. The definition of a response rate is taken from Arianna's 1998 column "Investigating The Pollsters."
The key to polling's accuracy is the principle of "equal probability of selection." But if larger and larger numbers among those randomly selected refuse to participate, this principle no longer applies.
We asked polling companies to please give us the response and refusal rates for their polls listed below.
Results: McCain 44%, Obama 49%
Method: 1,203 likely voters polled over three days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A Zogby representative said, "28.2% Response, 71.8% Refuse."
Results: McCain 45%, Obama 51%
Method: 1,100 likely voters polled over three days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A Research 2000 representative explained the methodology of the poll, saying that it was a rolling poll with a baseline of 1,100 likely voters, taking approximately 355 to 365 calls per night and throwing out the oldest numbers. "I would say that [we take] one in every eight calls on average," he said, attributing this rate to a combination of callers "telling us to go to hell" and callers not meeting their standard of a "likely voter" through a name recognition test.
Results: McCain 43%, Obama 52%
Method: 2,459 likely voters polled over three days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": 14% response rate, 26% refusal rate. This is an average rate for this particular series of polls, technically defined as the CASRO rate which is similar to the AAPOR-III response rate (these definitions can be found here).
Results: Obama 51%, McCain 47%
Method: Sample of 3,000 likely voters over three days.
"Can you please give us the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": A representative for Rasmussen told us, "We don't give out that information".
Results: Obama 49%, McCain 45%
Method: Sample of 1000 likely voters.
"Will it be possible for us to get the response and refusal rates for your most recent national poll?": After a few calls, a representative for Tarrance told us, "It's not going to be. Write what you need to write, but it's not going to be. We're four weeks out from a campaign and quite frankly this is not anywhere near my priority list. Okay?"
|Mccain vs obama in the General election|
VIRGO August 29, 1936
You may be ready to call someone's bluff. It's unlikely you'll be willing to give up something important to you. A family matter could come to a head - necessitating an extra trip or adjustments to a shopping routine. Natural products could feature on your fashion agenda with the texture of something velvety and the reaction it has on someone you're with, helping you decide to buy.
LEO August 4, 1961
The best scene for you to be in would be something 'formal'. Even attending to family matters might be preferable to dealing with close relationships. The problem there is that what another person wants to do is likely to encroach on a hobby of yours: that, or they might infer you're not 'good' at something. Seen as a test in self-confidence you could kick this into touch by declaring you're more than up to the job.
Considerable cloudiness. High 62F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph.
Mainly sunny. High 72F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph.
Mostly cloudy. High 61F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph.
Santa Barbara, CA
A shower or two around the area in the morning, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. High 66F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
General Election Poll: Rasmussen Daily Tracking
Like all polling firms, Rasmussen Reports weights its data to reflect the population at large. Among other targets, Rasmussen Reports weights data by political party affiliation using a dynamic weighting process. Our baseline targets are established based upon survey interviews with a sample of adults nationwide completed during the preceding three months (a total of 45,000 interviews). For the month of August, the targets are 40.6% Democrat, 31.6% Republican, and 27.8% unaffiliated. For July, the targets were 41.4% Democrat, 31.5% Republican, and 27.1% unaffiliated (see party trends and analysis).
Betting Lines: Intrade Prediction Markets